This is a 60-part weekly series being pumped into the market by Eaglemoss publications. They don't know much about Spidey, but they know that 60 * $8.99 = quite a lot. And I'm the kind of idiot who will spend that sort of money without doing the math.
There's an original 7-page story in every issue, and collectible trading cards too. Sure, the stories are terrible, the art has been 90% ghastly, and the price is far, far too high. But there's glossy paper, trading cards, and an original Spider-Man comic strip series that 99% of the U.S. collectors will never own!
Last week, Spider-Man Heroes & Villains Collection (UK) #53 began a two-part arc by a guest writer. The story featured Ant-Man, Hulk, Doctor Doom, strange messages, nano-bot ants, a shrinking device, a fantasy sub-atomic kingdom, a primitive warrior race, and more... all in a meagre seven pages. Frankly, the result was rather hectic.
Perhaps this issue will clear things up?
Spider-Man and Hulk work together to repel the nano-bot ant invasion. The Web-Head reprograms one of the ants. That's because he knows "science". Sure, he's a biochemist. But... that's pretty similar to computer engineering, right?
Then Spider-Man persuades the re-modified ants to attack Doom. Doom? Doom! It turns out that Doom was behind this all, because... quote: "Once K'ai was a world of peace, harmony, and hope... now there is only Doom!"
Yeah, Doctor Doom has become an anarchist. But wait, there's more... quote: "I will create a new universe, Ant Man -- here at the heart of the atom! The building blocks of all matter are mine to command!"
So there's the story. Doctor Doom wants to be the master of... a single atom. Just imagine... the all-powerful Doom will control that whole molecule. Way to think big, Victor!
Naturally, his evil plans are foiled. Spider-Man has "corrupted the ant's hard drive". Umm... which means that the micro bugs are now under his control. Personally, whenever I corrupt a hard drive, I just get random snow on the screen, and my machine won't boot. But this must be a special sort of "corruption".
Doom is defeated by his own army. So he uses his size-shifting device to grow back to full size and crush the sub-atomic kingdom. Except that Spider-Man has stolen his remote control, and set the size-shifter to super-super-small. Doom becomes sub-sub-sub-atomic. Is that even possible?
Face it, you can only do so much in seven pages. Sure, there are some exceptions that prove the rule. For example, The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) manages to pack 37 plays into two hours, including a 43-second edition of Hamlet.
But putting aside that kind of parody, any non-ironic attempt to crush a dimension-spanning epic tale in a budget-sized pamphlet is going to be right up against it.
What a lot of silly nonsense. Nano-bots, fantasy worlds, and lots of running around. Sadly, it doesn't add up to much in the end.
Still, I guess it could be worse. Let's give it two webs.
One positive aspect of this story arc is the professional art work by Herb Trimpe. It's just a shame that the in-yer-face colouring work completely overwhelms the pencils.